Designing for Vision Loss.

5 must have design considerations for ageing parents. 

DATE : 19.SEP.2019

Only a few of us realize what it might be like to lead a life without senses. 

Yet statistics show that more than 80% indivudals spend the last 10 years of their lives with some form of visual impairement.

While visual imparement could itself be extremely tough to deal with, it often leads to various injuries that could be dangeourous in old age. 

If you are designing a home that would be used by elderly, such design choices could help your parents have a satisfying and comfortable experience

Such a design relies on textures, colours, and lighting to augument the visual sense in achieving the desired goal. Below are 5 recommendations that must be considered for design while designing for aeging parents. 

1. Use of Contrast

Using contrasts could help the people with vision loss work safely and effectively in kitchen and other areas.
Brighter colors are much more easy to identify and distinguished as opposed to darker shades. Morever colors such as yellow orange and red and better than pink, blue and browns.

Kitchen cabinets, light switches, corriddors could be designed in contrasting colours to make it easier to work 

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2. Hand Rails

As per the Centres of Disease Controls, every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. 

While designing passages, stairs and bathrooms, adding rails could help people with vision loss gain extra balance and avoid the threat of falls. 

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3. Obstructions such as corners and pillars

Obstructions in the common path must be avoided. Structural contraints such as pillars or low over head projections which can't be totally avoided must be softened and painted in contrasting colors (refer previous points) to ensure that they are clearly identifiable from a distance. 
All such spaces could additionally be painted with scented paints to create a correlation and trigger mental cues for cautiosness.

4. Anti Skid Tapes

Slippery areas specifically where water spillage is common including washrooms must have anti skid tapes installed. These tapes are available off the shelf on hardware stores and could create a confortable environment for those with vision loss.

5. Light Effects

Lights could play a critical role in helping people with limited vision distinguish between different zones and height levels in a room. A combination of task light, ambient lights, focus lights and horizontal lights could come handy while creating such a design. 

Adopting this intuitive but often ignored elements could help your loved ones with visual loss lead a healthier, safer and more reliable lives. 

These life hacks while simple could drastically improve the quality of life for your loved ones. 

[This article is a part of a series of articles on BuildWorx's Human Centred Design]

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